How to Become a Greenskeeper

Golf courses are very popular places of recreation for many people around the world. To ensure they meet the needs of customers, golf courses require trained professionals to provide regular maintenance and care. This is the job of greenskeepers.

What does a greenskeeper do?

Greenskeepers are responsible for the overall care and maintenance of golf courses and country clubs. They manage the greens and landscaping and maintain tee markers, flags, ball washers, benches, canopies and other equipment located on the course. They mow, water, and fertilize the grass and manage trees, ponds, bunkers, and sand traps. They relocate the flags and holes on putting greens on a periodic basis to prevent uneven wear and to increase challenge and interest of the course. Greenskeepers also move the flags and holes for different tournaments. They perform a variety of procedures and operate many different types of equipment including mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, small tractors, and tools to fix divots and other imperfections. Greenskeepers also measure the speed of the course with stimpmeters. They can increase the speed by mowing the grass shorter or in different directions.

What kind of training does a greenskeeper need?

Greenskeepers typically need at least a high school diploma, but many complete formal education in horticulture, landscaping, or other related field. Prospective greenskeepers often complete courses in horticulture, small engine repair, arboriculture, landscape design, and business. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new greenskeepers to gain the necessary skills and experience. They learn the operation of many different types of equipment and the necessary safety procedures. New greenskeepers often shadow experienced workers until they can perform tasks independently.

What are the prospects for a career as a greenskeeper?

Employment of greenskeepers is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 18% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for golf courses will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for greenskeepers with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace greenskeepers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do greenskeepers make?

As of January 2010, greenskeepers with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $8.57 and $10.46. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $8.84 and $12.02 (2).

A career as a greenskeeper is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in maintaining a variety of golf courses. Greenskeepers must have a solid understanding of the rules and history of golf and the necessary care and maintenance procedures. Physical stamina, detail orientation, and self-motivation are necessary characteristics. Greenskeepers must be able to work independently and be able to accurately follow detailed instructions from the course designer and course management. They must also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they often interact with a variety of players and other workers.

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